Monday, March 6, 2017
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: CHICANO BATMAN - FREEDOM IS FREE
Sometimes you hear some so new and fresh, you don't know quite what it is, but you know it's great. Chicano Batman is red-hot, with a big splash ad for Johnny Walker on the Grammy telecast (which is a lot more important than being ON the Grammy's). Writers are clamouring to try to describe them, largely unsuccessfully, most of them mentioning soul influences and famous bands of the past.
Of course, new to me doesn't mean new, and the four-piece has been going for nine years out of L.A., and this is album #3. You can tell why the explosion is happening now though, as the sound they've concocted is a crazy mix, with just as much Latin as soul, and funk coming from both those sources. Then everything is put through the quirky mix machine (every band should have one), so the bass pops a little more than anybody else's, or the guitar solo sounds like it got flown in from a Talking Heads session. Here comes a jazz flute! It's over top of a slightly sizzling organ, circa '65, but the drums are hip-hop tight. And these big jams, with a wah-wah pedal solos. It's not that there's something going on here; it's more like there's everything going on. As soon as I figure it out, I'll let you know, but you might as well get hip to it now and avoid the line-ups.